Be wary of signing deals for telehealth technologies, conference hears

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 08 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1750
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. 1London

NHS organisations should be wary of bulk buying telehealth technologies and getting locked into unsuitable and costly deals, says a leading campaigner for patients’ interests.

Jeremy Taylor, chief executive of the National Voices coalition of health and social care charities, said there were risks associated with the spread of telehealth and telecare initiatives and patients’ needs must come first.

Although some technologies could help people with long term conditions live independently, they must not be a substitute for effective services and must be “wired in” to well coordinated support, he said.

Mr Taylor, who is a member of the NHS Future Forum, said health technologies were “usually designed by young, fitter people for use by older, sicker” ones.

He said the NHS had spent lots of money in recent years on “kit” that had failed to live up to expectations.

“We have to avoid the trap of having technology driven solutions in search of problems,” he said. “It leads …

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